MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. New York City FC

Venue: BMO Field – Wednesday, May 18 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto FC 8/13 – Draw  3/1 – New York City FC 4/1

Match Preview

Toronto FC welcome New York City FC to BMO Field in the first outing of a double gameweek for both of these Eastern Conference sides on Wednesday night.

The home side come into this one off the back of that exhilarating 4-3 loss to Vancouver, a frustrating result to take, but somewhat unsurprising as they never led at one point in the game. That loss was Toronto’s second in their last five games and their first home loss of the season, albeit only their second home outing.

Toronto face Columbus at home in the second of their double gameweek clashes, so they have two intense fixtures in the space of four days to contend with here.

Greg Vanney’s side are currently 4th in the Eastern Conference, trailing top spot by two points, but they do have this game in hand, so a win would take them top ahead of the weekend.

Toronto Celebrate New York Red Bulls

New York City FC are in fine form. They come into this tie off the back of their 2-1 away win over Portland, their third win on the bounce.

Patrick Vieira has made a great impact in his time at the club and as a result New York City are 2nd in the Eastern Conference, only behind Montreal on goal difference. They just need to avoid defeat here to go top.

New York City are unbeaten against Toronto since their inception, winning two and drawing two. They have scored at least two goals in all four of those games against the Canadian side.

Up next for NYCFC is the New York Derby in the second of their double gameweek matches – the first of four consecutive home outings for Vieira’s side, so they have a great chance of continue their challenge at the top of the East.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact

Team News

Toronto FC are missing three players for the visit through injury. Benoit Cheyrou, Marky Delgado and Jozy Altidore are all out. Altidore’s hamstring injury is also a huge blow for the USMNT as he now looks set to miss the Copa America.

New York City FC could also be without three for this tie. Connor Brandt is out, while Frank Lampard and Jack Harrison are both doubts. Mikey Lopez is one caution away from suspension.

Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: W/W/L/W/L

Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: L/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Goals – The two sides have netted a combined 18 goals against one another in their four meetings in all competitions – an average of 4.5 per game.

Key Player: David Villa – The NYCFC talisman has scored four in his last three, showing just how important he is to Vieira’s side. They will be reliant on him to outperform Sebastian Giovinco to win them this game. Both forwards have had incredible seasons so far, netting eight goals each.

MLS: New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact David Villa

Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-2 New York City FC – In all four of the meetings between these sides there has been plenty of action with an astonishing 18 goals being scored. It has the makings of becoming an MLS classic and we can expect a real battle again here. Giovinco vs Villa is the matchup most fans will be relishing, so many will be looking forward to seeing this unfold and we don’t expect the two goal-machines to disappoint.

Advertisements

MLS Fantasy Focus: Time to load up on Quakes stars for latest DGW?

By Jamie Dawe and Sam Martin

If you are squeamish, don’t click on the following link. Nigel De Jong’s horror tackle on Darlington Nagbe overshadowed all other gameplay this weekend and if you want to indulge yourself in this footballing monstrosity, you can watch the challenge here. However, there were some more positive goings on this week in MLS. A total of 14 players picked up a score in the double digits and there were some standout performances from unexpected stars, as well as contributions from the usual suspects.

Week 5 Review

The Good:

It was a more enjoyable experience for the spectators who could enjoy ten 11vs11 matches, the way football should be played, as no red cards were issued this weekend. It was a good week for DC United who picked up only their second win of the season and their first in front of their own supporters. Regular starter Fabian Espindola ($10.1) and late substitute Alvaro Saborio ($7.7) both netted braces in an emphatic 4-0 win over the Whitecaps, bringing them 14 and 11 points respectively and making Espindola the highest point scorer of the week. Also standing out this weekend, Real Salt Lake extended their unbeaten run to five games with star of the season so far, Joao Plata ($9.5) netting his fourth goal of the season.

At the other end of the Western Conference, Seattle Sounders’ defender Chad Marshall ($8.5) equalised in the 94th minute to save a point for the Sounders against Houston as he picked up 10 points for the gameweek himself. Having heavily criticised the Chicago defence on the opening game of the season (conceding four goals at home to New York City), it’s clear their players must have been paying attention to the criticism, as they have gone on to concede just one goal from their next four matches and are yet to lose since the opening day. This meant that ‘keeper Matt Lampson ($4.7), along with defenders Johan Kappelhof ($7.7), Jonathan Campbell ($5.1), Rodrigo Ramos ($6.1) and Michael Harrington ($5.3) all picked up between 6 and 10 points this weekend. Houston Dynamo striker Giles Barnes scored a fine goal, which also deserves a mention here as he casually looped the ball over Stefan Frei’s head to put the Dynamo in the lead. It’s certainly worth a watch and you can do just that right here.

Embed from Getty Images

The Bad:

For the first time all season, there was not a single red card in any match during the weekend! However, one sour point was Nigel De Jong’s ($9.1) tackle on USMNT star Darlington Nagbe ($9.0), which was certainly a tackle worthy of a red. It does seem that De Jong has been retrospectively banned, but we’re yet to find out how long for.

Whilst it may not have been a weekend for red cards, there were a large quantity of own goals and defensive disasters to talk about. Portland Timbers’ Nat Borchers ($7.7) netted a late own goal to rescue LA Galaxy a point as Portland continued their winless run that has lasted since their only victory of the season on opening day. Also guilty of scoring at the wrong end, San Jose defender Victor Bernardez ($7.5) chalked up Dallas’ equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Toyota Stadium. Defensively, it was a horror show for the Vancouver Whitecaps, who let in four goals away to DC United, with none of their back four picking up anymore than 2 points this week. Meanwhile in the Eastern Conference, Bradley Wright-Phillips ($10.7), a man who netted 18 goals last season, is yet to score a goal this term. He fired ten shots on Saturday (more than anyone else in a single game so far this season) and missed a perfect opportunity to end this drought, missing from the penalty spot against Sporting Kansas City. New York have failed to score in four out of five games this season, although ironically it has been their defence that has been hit by injury, so their first-choice attack has no excuse for not racking up the goals so far.

Bradley Wright-Phillips Clint Irwin

Week 6 Preview

Must Buy:

It’s double gameweek time! The second DGW of the MLS season gives you the opportunity to bring in an impressive points haul. With San Jose playing two out of form teams in the New York Red Bulls and Portland Timbers, my money would be behind them for banking some top scoring players. My main suggestions would be the ever reliable Chris Wondolowski ($10.7), who will also take any penalties, along with key men Quincy Amarikwa ($7.6) and Marvell Wynne ($7.0), both of whom will surely start both games. If you’re looking for value for money out of the double gameweek players, look no further than the Rapids’ Ugandan midfielder Micheal Azira ($5.5) and towering Swedish centre-back Axel Sjoberg ($5.5). Returning SKC captain Matt Besler ($8.7) might also be a good shout if you’re looking for a big name defender to bolster your squad.

Embed from Getty Images

Must Sell:

Chicago Fire only play twice in the next two gameweeks, whereas other teams will tally several games in that period – so it’s worth getting value for money and removing Fire players (aiming at the 14.4% of you that have Brandon Vincent ($5.0). Replace him with a Rapids defender (they play five times in the next four weeks) or stick with a reliable points scorer like Justin Glad ($5.1) or Daniel Steres ($5.2). Anyone who has Darlington Nagbe ($9.0), might want to put their money to better use, as he could be out for an indefinite period of time after leaving the pitch on a wheelchair against the Galaxy on Sunday. Also, SKC defender Kevin Ellis ($6.9) could be about to miss an extended period of time after a nasty groin injury against the Red Bulls – so if you’re the owner of one of the 2,000+ teams that Ellis is in – you might want to look elsewhere for a few weeks.

Who will you be putting in your team for the upcoming DGW?

MLS Fantasy Focus: Who should you be bringing in for the first DGW of the season?

By Jamie Dawe & Sam Martin

Week 3 Review

The Good:

LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes ($9.5) helped continue his side’s unbeaten home run as he netted two goals in his side’s 3-1 win against San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday as they climbed to 2nd in the Western Conference. Reigning MLS Cup champions Portland came from two goals down to grab a point at home to Real Salt Lake, with Fanendo Adi ($10.2) grabbing a brace, including one from the spot late on. Philadelphia picked up their second win of the season with a convincing 3-0 home victory over the New England Revolution. American forward CJ Sapong ($8.1) opened his MLS 2016 goals account with two in his side’s well-deserved victory, while rookie defender Keegan Rosenberry ($5.5) made four interceptions and two crucial tackles to preserve his side’s second clean-sheet in three matches. 

Embed from Getty Images

The Bad:

Unbeaten Real Salt Lake threw away a two-goal lead at Portland Timbers in the last 11 minutes, but also saw two of their men receive red cards. With his side a goal up, midfielder Kyle Beckerman ($8.3) saw red, followed by defender Jamison Olave ($7.8), who received his marching orders in the 83rd minute. Manager Jeff Cassar will surely be frustrated with his side’s lack of discipline. A further three red cards were dished out across the weekend, making a grand total of 5 across all matches. San Jose’s Jamaican DP Simon Dawkins ($8.6), New England Revolution defender Je-Vaughn Watson ($6.9) and former Wigan Athletic midfielder Roger Espinoza ($7.2) all saw red for their misdemeanours. It certainly was another fiery weekend in MLS!

Embed from Getty Images

Week 4 Preview

Must Buy:

With the first Double Gameweek of the season hurtling towards us at top speed, it’s time for you to stack up on players who could make a real impact in the Week 4 scoring charts. I’m going to attempt to recommend one player from each side that has a Double Gameweek this week. Firstly, from DC United, Brazilian midfielder Marcelo Sarvas ($7.1) is definitely a safe bet to score a decent quantity of bonus points in both matches, so if you’re looking for guaranteed points, he’s your man. FC Dallas are missing a number of their key players this international break, so it’s a chance for Mauro Diaz ($10.4) to continue to show his incredible credentials without the likes of Tesho Akindele and Kellyn Acosta surrounding him. The New England Revs have had a disappointing start to the season, but it could’ve been a lot worse if it wasn’t for star ‘keeper Bobby Shuttleworth ($5.8). A clean sheet and two saved penalties in three games make Shuttleworth by far and away the best performer so far in this poor New England side. I also expect that this week will be the week that Kekuta Manneh’s ($8.5) ability shines through for the Whitecaps in their double header of home games. However, I would not recommend picking up any Whitecaps defenders as they face free-scoring Houston on Saturday, followed by the visit of LA Galaxy, who are also a dangerous attacking outfit.

Embed from Getty Images

Must Sell:

This week, I’m struggling to see anyone or any team that stands out to me as particularly worth selling over everyone else. Obviously, dropping any of the red-carded players can’t be argued against and anyone losing faith in the Sounders ever picking up form would be understood if they were to remove Clint Dempsey ($10.8) or Jordan Morris ($8.2) from their side. The New York Red Bulls also picked up a host of hamstring injuries in their 4-3 victory over Houston, so defenders Gideon Baah ($8.0) and Ronald Zubar ($7.8) could be ones to remove before their match against the Revs on April 1.

Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps 2016 Clint Dempsey


There’s a new leader in the MLSGB Fantasy League this week, as Damian Reed’s brilliantly named side De Jong Trousers now tops the leaderboard. However, this week’s highest scorer was SW Whistler’s squad Pits of Passyunk with 87 points, which included double figures from Philly players CJ Sapong and Fabinho, his chosen captain Cyle Larin and Red Bulls midfield maestro Sacha Kljestan.

Who do you think is the best player to select for the upcoming Double Gameweek?

MLS Fantasy Tips: Gameweek 13 Picks

Gameweek 13 of the MLS season is just around the corner and so it’s time to quickly assess your MLS Fantasy options ahead of what is a hectic round of fixtures.

Six clubs have a Double Gameweek this time around with Colorado Rapids, DC United, LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders all playing twice over the course of the next five days.

Here are the three picks we recommend for the upcoming round of fixtures:

Chad Barrett  – Forward (Seattle Sounders) – $6.7m

Embed from Getty Images

The Sounders frontman has been a worthy replacement for the injured Obafemi Martins in the past couple of weeks and has bagged two goals in his last two starts.

With the Sounders playing twice at home this week, Barrett is a cheaper option than most of his teammates at just $6.7m and should be strongly considered.

Cyle Larin – Forward (Orlando City) – $5.9m

Embed from Getty Images

Cyle Larin is the out-and-out striker for Orlando at the moment and his pace makes him a constant threat.

Orlando play Columbus Crew at the Citrus Bowl this weekend, who are not as strong away from home, so at $5.9m, Larin is a pick many be looking at if they don’t already have him.

Kevin Doyle – Forward (Colorado Rapids) – $8.0m 

Embed from Getty Images

Irish international Doyle is a poacher worth putting in the side but the price may be off-putting at $8.0m, considering he is unproven in MLS.

However, Doyle is known for being a nuisance in the box and could cause both Seattle and Portland problems this week if he can get his first starts in those games.

Who are you putting in your MLS Fantasy team this week?

Sporting Kansas City hit with injury crisis ahead of New England clash

Sporting Kansas City have somewhat of an injury crisis to deal with as they look set to struggle to select 18 fit players for their clash with New England Revolution on Wednesday night.

SKC manager Peter Vermes has suggested that they only have 16 fit players available and that includes two goalkeepers.

“We need some bodies,” Vermes is quoted as saying by MLSsoccer.com.

Vermes has been said to be considering his options, and recalling Saad Abdul-Salaam from his loan spell with NASL side San Antonio Scorpions.

“That’s what we need at the moment. If he (Abdul-Salaam) doesn’t come back, we would only have 16 – and that includes 2 goalkeepers.”

Embed from Getty Images

The current injury list includes the likes of Graham Zusi (head), Ike Opara (achilles) and Roger Espinoza (groin), who all are starters in the current squad.

Seth Sinovic (illness), Eric Palmer-Brown (international duty), Marcel de Jong (groin), Bernardo Anor (hamstring), Chance Myers (achilles) and Paulo Nagamura (back) are all expected to miss the tie too.

With an inconsistent start to the season already behind them, Sporting Kansas City will need to remain competitive during this period, and the double gameweek comes at possibly the worst time for Peter Vermes’ men.

They travel to Seattle Sounders on Saturday night after their home game with the Revs on Wednesday night.

Can Sporting Kansas City overcome their injury crisis to pick up points this week?